If it is not a question of your safety – why is it so important to keep your relationship a secret?
Is it because they would be worried about you? Or is it because they would think that your choice of partner is not appropriate?
Ask yourself – do they have a point? Often the people closest to us only want the best for us – they want to keep us safe and make sure we are happy. When we fall for someone, it is often difficult to see what everyone else can see – in our eyes our partner may seem wonderful and special – but to everyone else they can see that they might be taking advantage of us or not very good for us.
So can they see something you are ignoring or are their objections misplaced?
The trouble is if you are lying to the people around you and hiding your relationship – you are putting yourself at risk. Think about it – if your family think you are at a friend’s house, when in fact you are out driving around with your new secret partner – how are they going to know where you are if something happens?
Plus, if things to get out of hand or go badly, it can be that much harder to ask for help if you are worried about getting in trouble because you haven’t told anyone about your relationship in the first place. Unfortunately, there are people out there that will encourage you to keep a relationship secret and will use the distance between you and your family to take advantage of you or to get you to do things that you don’t want to do. We call this grooming and sexual exploitation. [links]
Regardless of the reasons behind your choice for keeping your relationship secret – remember that you don’t have to deal with everything on your own. Having someone to talk to is essential if you are in a relationship – if it can’t be your immediate family, make sure that it is someone that you can trust, that will listen without judgement and support you – someone you can share the giggles and tears with (there will be both). I promise it will help.
© Going off the Rails 2014. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt